'I'm bigger than my anxiety.'
Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde
Ten years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find a celebrity who was willing to talk as candidly about their mental health as many stars do today. In the last year alone, we’ve seen Britney Spears open up about her personal struggles, Prince William and Lady Gaga team up to talk about the importance of discussing mental health, and Prince Harry reveal he has suffered from panic attacks.
With over a third of British employees admitting to dealing with anxiety and depression at work, it’s more important than ever that people with a public platform are talking about mental health to continue to fight the stigma surrounding it.
Oscar award winning actress, Emma Stone, is the latest celebrity to discuss her own life-long struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. The 28-year-old actress appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where she discussed how she dealt with her mental health as a child.
Showing the talk show host a drawing she had created during a therapy session at the age of 9, Emma said: ‘This is me, I guess. It’s really great artistry with my shoes and then this is anxiety here.
‘It’s a little green monster that looks a little bit like, as someone backstage said, a uterus with some ovaries.’
The picture shows Emma next to a tiny monster, captioned: ‘I’m bigger than my anxiety.’
The La La Land star also revealed that she had ‘immobilising’ panic attacks as young as 7 years old.
‘I was a very, very, very anxious child and I had a lot of panic attacks,’ she revealed. ‘I benefitted in a big way from therapy. [And acting] helped me so much, improv helped me so much. I still have anxiety to this day, but not panic attacks.’
It’s not the first time she has openly discussed her anxiety and panic attacks, telling Rolling Stone magazine earlier this year: ‘When I was about seven, I was convinced the house was burning down. I could sense it. Not a hallucination, just a tightening in my chest, feeling I couldn’t breathe, like the world was going to end.
‘There were some flare-ups like that, but my anxiety was constant. I would ask my mum a hundred times how the day was gonna lay out … I wrote this book called I Am Bigger Than My Anxiety that I still have: I drew a little green monster on my shoulder that speaks to me in my ear and tells me all these things that aren’t true.
‘And every time I listen to it, it grows bigger. If I listen to it enough, it crushes me. But if I turn my head and keep doing what I’m doing — let it speak to me, but don’t give it the credit it needs — then it shrinks down and fades away.’